Our Judgement of People on Based on Religion

I was in New York City on September 11, 2001. I was only a second grader at the time, but I was there, and I remember many details about that fateful day. I remember seeing the terrorist attacks on television. I remember my coming home from school really early and not really understanding why that was the case. And I remember the grief my parents felt that day.

However, today, September 12, marks the anniversary of the start of another tragedy, a tragedy that became evident by September 12, 2001, and continues today. The tragedy is that Muslims are marginalized, or even attacked, because people associate that religion with terrorism, and Sikhs are marginalized or attacked because various head coverings make others think that Sikhs look Muslim. It’s a tragedy that started when people first found out that the hijackers committed terrorism in the name of a very warped version of Islam.

Now I trust that none of us are the ones directly committing these tragedies against Muslims and Sikhs. But I worry that many of us, myself included at times, are enablers of hatred against Muslims and people who look like Muslims.

I hear this enabling all the time.

Every time someone talks about Islam being a barbarous religion, that person is enabling hatred of Islam. Every time someone talks about Islam is a religion of hate, that person is enabling hatred of Islam. Every time someone talks about all Muslims as if they’re all on a quest to destroy the United States, that person is enabling hatred of Islam.

I could continue the list, but by now I think my readers get the point. The point is that, while none of us may be directly behind the anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh violence, anti-Muslim rhetoric, or even silence in the face of others’ anti-Muslim rhetoric, can create motivation for people to commit violence against Muslims and people who are mistaken as being Muslim (often Sikhs).

So at this point, maybe some of you are expecting me to tell everyone to be careful with the words all of us say. Now yes, I agree that we should generally be careful with the words we say, because the last thing that any of us wants to do is to somehow give fuel to violence.

But I am calling for something more. Namely, I am calling for everybody to stop judging people based on what religion they are, and instead look at how individuals live out the religion (or lack of religion) they have. If someone is a Muslim who advocates for basic human rights around the world, then that’s great! If someone is a Christian who is big into war, that’s not so great, even if I share the same religion as the other Christian.

Martin Luther King, Jr. tells us “not to judge by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” In the context of judging people based on religion, I suggest a quote similar to Dr. King’s: we should not judge people by the name of their religion, but by the content of their character.

5 Replies to “Our Judgement of People on Based on Religion”

  1. Brendan,

    Thank you for writing this article on religious intolerance. I completely agree with your thesis, in particular, on the quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.

    There is a significant case of religious injustice that I would like to write about, surrounding a Korean Pastor by the name of Jung Myung Seok. He has been demonised by the media and online media, even put into prison for 10 years for a conviction that was based on public opinion and purely verbal and contradictory evidence. The irony is that Pastor Jung was being targetted by Christians themselves for having different doctrines, and subsequently being labelled as a cult.

    You can see more details of the injustice that is happening at https://jmsprovidence.com/news-timeline/

    Would you be open to us writing an article on this, for your consideration, to post on your blog?

    Like

    1. You’re welcome! I was happy to write this.

      In terms of the case you’re bringing up, I am completely unfamiliar with it so I want to do my own research before making a decision. Is there some place where I can email you all once I do some research? I give the warning that it may be a little time before I respond because now is a pretty hectic time for me. Times like this make me glad that I work ahead with my posts when I can!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re welcome! I was happy to write this.

    In terms of the case you’re bringing up, I am completely unfamiliar with it so I want to do my own research before making a decision. Is there some place where I can email you all once I do some research? I give the warning that it may be a little time before I respond because now is a pretty hectic time for me. Times like this make me glad that I work ahead with my posts when I can!!!

    Like

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